A vigilant tow truck driver helped Palo Alto police snag a pair of teens suspected of breaking into two houses Tuesday afternoon.
The first break-in was reported on the 2300 block of Santa Catalina Street at about 3 p.m., police spokesman Dan Ryan said. The burglars allegedly used a tool found in the house's backyard to bust a window, then made off with a backpack full of electronic equipment, including an iPod and video games.
Soon after, residents on the nearby 1100 block of Oregon Avenue came home to find two teens apparently trying to break into their house. The suspects ran away, and the residents described them to police.
A National tow truck driver licensed by the city heard the report on a police scanner as he was driving around, Ryan said. As he passed Greer Park, he saw two youths matching the burglars' descriptions and called authorities.
Officers responded and arrested two boys from East Palo Alto, one 15 and one 13. The backpack full of electronic equipment was recovered, and the youths were later released to their parents' custody.
Ryan said there has been a rash of residential burglaries in the past few months along the Oregon Expressway corridor. Investigators will look into whether the suspects were connected with any of the others.
"Once again it was great reporting by both the neighbors who discovered these kids, and also by the tow truck driver," Ryan said. "We're thrilled that we were able to catch them with citizens' help."